As a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Job Retention Scheme has been extended to cover the period 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021. The Extended Job Retention Scheme therefore now covers the festive period, a time where some employers shut down altogether and/or require employees to take extended holiday.
HMRC’s guidelines on furloughing staff remain relevant in that employees can only be placed on furlough leave if COVID-19 is affecting the employer’s operations. HMRC have confirmed that employees should not be placed on furlough leave for a period solely when the business/premises closes anyway for another reason not relating to COVID-19 – for example over the festive period or for refurbishment/building works at a usually quiet time. The employer would have difficulty in these circumstances demonstrating that their business had been affected by COVID-19 for the period of furlough.
Where employees are already on a period of furlough leave, either fully or flexible, either side of the Christmas break this may continue during any office closure or holiday taken for the festive period.
Employers will still be responsible for paying 100% of the employee’s wages for periods of holiday.
Please contact us if you are unsure if you would like further information on any of the points raised above.
Article written by Kate Millard and Max Dunand of the PEM Employment Tax team.